Side Effects of Lipitor (Atorvastatin)

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Lipitor, also known by the generic name atorvastatin, is one of the most commonly used prescription drugs in the world. Lipitor is a statin designed to lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. Common side effects of Lipitor or atorvastatin include nasal congestion, headache, pain during urination, and muscle pain.

Lipitor is prescribed to lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol. Lowering LDL, or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, cuts the risk of chest pain and heart disease. According to WebMD, Lipitor functions by getting the liver to produce less cholesterol. Lipitor is prescribed in tandem with a heart-healthy diet, regular exercise and a lifestyle void of smoking.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common side effects of Lipitor or atorvastatin include headaches, nasal congestion or a runny nose, pain during urination, trouble urinating, hoarseness, and muscle pain in the back or sides. Bloating and burping, acid reflux, appetite loss, nausea and vomiting, and difficulty sleeping may also present themselves as side effects. These are usually less worrisome side effects and they may reduce in frequency or intensity over time as the body acclimates to the medication.

However, other more serious side effects of Lipitor can also present themselves. While rare, these issues can indicate a serious complication or even an allergic reaction. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, severe side effects of Lipitor include chest pain, a change in heart rate, yellowing of the skin or eyes, blood in stool or otherwise discolored stools, fever, and numbness. An allergic reaction can be characterized by skin rash, swelling, and difficulty breathing. Seek immediate medical attention in the event of any severe reactions to Lipitor, particularly if you suspect an allergic response.

The National Health Service of the UK reports a number of drug-drug interactions with Lipitor and other statin drugs. Amiodarone (used to treat irregular heart rate), ezetimibe and fibrates (cholesterol-lowering drugs), diltiazem and verapamil (used to treat hypertension), and ciclosporin (an immunosuppressant) can increase the odds of muscle damage when taken with Lipitor. Some antibiotics can have a similar effect. Always check with your doctor before combining any medications or supplements.

Lipitor, a popular brand name version of the generic atorvastatin, is used to lower levels of bad cholesterol in the body. Side effects of Lipitor are typically mild and include nasal congestion, headache, and digestive malaise. However, some side effects can be serious or indicative of an adverse reaction to the drug. Talk to your doctor before using Lipitor about its potential side effects and drug interactions.


Atorvastatin (By Mouth). University of Maryland Medical Center.

Atorvastatin (Oral Route). Mayo Clinic.

Cholesterol-lowering medicines, statins – Interactions. National Health Service.

Lipitor Oral. WebMD.


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